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Drostdy Museum Complex - Mayville
Swellendam, Western Cape

Gwendoline Elizabeth (Gwen) FAGAN: Landscape Architect

Client:Daniel de Bruyn
Street:4 Hermanus Steyn Street


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34°01'05.90" S 20°27'03.95" E Alt: 141m

Part of the Drostdy Museum Complex.

[Note: the Mayville Rose Garden has a separate entry.]

A T-shaped house, built in 1853 by Daniel de Bruin. This man had bought the Drostdy and all its land on the west side of the main road from the government in 1846. He lived in the Drostdy for a time, but obviously he had bought the property as a speculation, for he proceeded to cut up the ground and sell it to various private owners, The Drostdy itself went to Pieter Gysbert Steyn. In 1853, having got rid of all the land except the remainder, on the corner of Swellengrebel and 1 Hermanus Steyn Streets, he built a new house for himself, which towards the end of the 19th century was named Mayville. Most of the outer and interior woodwork is intact. The house and grounds were bequeathed by the late Miss Nita Steyn to the Drostdy Museum. It has since been restored to its original appearance with half-hipped thatch roof and dormer front, and is now an early-Victorian period house museum.

It was the wish of the benefactor Ms Nita Steyn that a rose garden be established at Mayville for the pleasure of visitors.

The garden was designed by Gwen Fagan in 1978 and a policy to plant heritage roses was adopted. The rose is one of the most ancient flowers and an attempt has been made to reflect something of its development towards the modern hybrid tea rose. Old varieties of shrubs, flowers and herbs are used for interplanting.

Declared a National Monument in 1972, it is now a Provincial Heritage Site.

Writings about this entry

Fagan, Gwen. 1988. Roses at the Cape of Good Hope. Cape Town: Breestraat. pg 111, 265
Fransen, Hans. 2004. The old buildings of the Cape. A survey of extant architecture from before c1910 in the area of Cape Town - Calvinia - Colesberg - Uitenhage. Johannesburg & Cape Town: Jonathan Ball Publishers. pg 459
Picton-Seymour, Désirée. 1989. Historical Buildings in South Africa. Cape Town: Struikhof Publishers. pg 80-81 ill
Richardson, Deirdré. 2001. Historic Sites of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. pg 154
Swellendam Heritage Association. 2018. Treasures of Swellendam. Swellendam: Swellendam Heritage Association. pg 18